Thursday, July 14, 2005

This One Almost Gets It

Reading editorials on al-Jazeera's English website is usually an exercise in futility; the minds at work are neither intelligent nor original, but thoroughly indoctrinated with al-Jazeera's hatred for the West in general and the United States in particular. The author of Islamic culture: A convenient scapegoat, al-Jazeera's current effort, almost makes the connections that are so painfully blatant to Westerners.

Soumayya Ghannoushi, a prominent apologist for Middle Eastern terrorists and Islamic oppression, gropes painfully toward a realization that should have been obvious to her years ago. Unfortunately for Ghannoushi, her ideology places limits on what her mind can internalize.
Perhaps the one thing al-Qaida militants have proven good at, apart from the shedding of innocent blood, is fanning the flames of hostility to Islam and Muslims. From the darkness of their caves and hiding places, these self-appointed spokesmen for about one and a half billion Muslims worldwide have excelled in stirring latent negative images of Islam within the Western psyche. Through their senseless crimes, Islam, in the minds of most, has become a euphemism for mass slaughter and destruction. Thanks to them, racism, bigotry and Islamophobia could rear its ugly head unashamedly in broad day light.
Correct as far as it goes, with some major omissions: the ululations of joy after 9/11 by huge segments of the Muslim world added nearly as much to this perception as anything that al Qaeda did, and al Qaeda didn't do it all by themselves. Hamas and Hezbollah fuel the perception of the bloodthirsty, amoral, lying, deceitful, baby-killing Arab. But Ghannoushi is, at this point in her essay at least, on the right track. Then Soumayya has a major brainfart:
The terrible irony is that Muslims currently find themselves helplessly trapped between two fundamentalisms, between Bush's hammer and Bin Laden's anvil, hostages to an extreme right wing American administration, aggressively seeking to impose its expansionist and hegemonic will over the region at gunpoint, and to a cluster of violent, wild fringe groups, lacking in political experience or sound religious understanding.
Muslims are not "trapped between two fundamentalisms". Muslims are faced with a decision, whether to continue supporting Islamist terrorism (overtly by sheltering terrorists, or covertly, by justifying their acts) or whether to enter the twenty-first century as civilized persons. That means people like Ghannoushi will have to eschew the Muslim principle of taqqiyeh, or lying in the service of Islam, as she has done here.

Toppling vicious, murdering thugs and seeking their replacement with democratically elected governments is not "expansionist" or "hegemonic". For Ghannoushi to use such words exposes her embarrassing ignorance of US history. For good or ill, the United States has always rejected Empire. There is as yet no imposed Pax Americana. But perhaps there should be.